My Top 1000 Songs #416: Girl In The War

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.]

Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter's second cut on the list happens to be one of the most gorgeous, emotionally weighty contemporary folk songs one can imagine. The track, off 2006's The Animal Years, is a beautiful Americana ballad, restrained finger-picking and some light instrumentation building to enveloping ambience; though the real show-stopper is Ritter's heartbreaking lyricism, somewhere between an anti-war protest song and a love song. It's kinda both, with just enough poetic ambiguity that you can hear a lament of a country at war, a lover in some other sort of crisis, or a blend of the two.

There's anger here, of course--"If they can't find a way to help her, they can go to Hell"--but mostly just longing. "I got a girl in the war, Paul, her eyes are like champagne. They sparkle, bubble over, and in the morning all you got is the rain."

Solo acoustic:
Live, with band: